From November 20 to 21 AICESIS-ILO-Korean ESDC joint conference held in Seoul. Hovik Musayelyan, Vazgen Manukyan and Armen Ter-Tatshatyan participated in the conference.
Hovik Musayelyan delivered speech as a member of the Armenian delegation (please see the speech below).
Dear conference participants,
On behalf of the delegation of the Public Council of the Republic of Armenia, let me greet the forum participants and wish productive work.
The republics of the former Soviet Union suffered 3 types of revolution.
- Struggle for independence and its acquisition
- Transition from the totalitarian government to the democratic government system
- Unprecedented property revolution, when within a short period, transition from state property based planned economy to private property based market economy had to be made.
As a result, all types of ties between the social structures and the government were violated, the trade unions stopped working. There was a vacuum over diverse social groups, dialog vanished both among the groups as well as the civic society and the state bodies.
The Public Council of Armenia was shaped at the moment of extreme importance to establish dialog between the civic society and the state bodies.
The main purpose of Public Council is to enable the society to engage in the process of policy development carried out by the government which in turn ensures that the government’s activities are in line with the demands of the society.
Given this, the society gains an immediate participation and the chance not only to inform the government about the society’s concerns, but also to impact the decision-making processes as well as the improvement of the moral-psychological environment of the country.
The council became a unique platform among the diverse social layers, thus replacing the structures having been violated, and as a result contributing to the recovery and the establishment of the structures.
The main goals of Public Council are:
- Representation of interests of the Armenian citizens and non-governmental associations in State policy formulation and implementation.
- Identification and discussion of problems that emerge in various areas of State and public life Provision of recommendations for State bodies and for public at large.
- Establishment of traditions that contribute to consolidation of civil society.
- Support for civic initiatives that aim to protect rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of Armenian citizens and civic associations.
Furthermore, having the authority of securing public control over the undertakings of state and local authority bodies, it can have a tangible impact on the decrease in illegitimacy, on the protection of the lawful rights of the citizens and on fostering the social security and enhancing the social dialogue.
During the recent years, the PC, among others, implemented:
- Recommendations sent to the National Assembly to create draft laws regarding the trade unions that will protect workers’ rights
- Strategy concept of development of civil society organizations in Armenia, created by the Committee on Civil Society Development of Public Council of Armenia.
- Recommendations sent to the Government and the President regarding the new law about the Mandatory Funded Pensions.
We can introduce a very bright example of the social dialog successfully implemented in Armenia. As we know social dialogue includes all types of negotiation, consultation and exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers on issues of common interest.
To this end, the most recent movement of DEMAM (which means I am against) team serves a perfect example. The team represents a social group, originally shaped by the IT sector employees (since IT sector EEs have high salaries), later the team got larger, involving employees of other sectors as well. It conducted campaigns/protests against the adoption of the mandatory pension system, which should have been effective starting January, 2014. The new law had provisions contradicting RA Constitution (the law implied pension deductions 5-10% of the employees’ compensation of those employees who are under the age of 40). The DEMAM team succeeded in the promotion of the movement and currently the law is ineffective in the private sector by 2017. By then the government and the National Assembly of RA should redevelop the law to meet the inquiries of the concerned parties.
The team had referred to the Public Council as well, and it delivered a special announcement, finding it appropriate to make improvements in the new law.
Public Council is proactively involved into social dialog with diverse social groups, constantly addressing questions to the RA government and other state bodies. The above mentioned is an example of the Public Council engagement into social dialog and its active promotion in Armenia.
I would like to note that in 2012, responding to a request by the International Labor Organization (ILO), UNICEF supported the launch of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework in Armenia. Armenia is the only country in the CEE-CIS region to have so far adopted the framework. Promoted globally by the UN system, the initiative aims at providing recommendations to governments for the set-up of a minimum level of services in health, education and social protection and care, thus ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable citizens.
Considering the Presidential elections in 2013, UNICEF, ILO and IMF agreed to promote the SPF as the platform for negotiating a long-term social protection program. The plan will further highlight the cooperation of the three agencies in the promotion of poverty reduction strategies (started between UNICEF and IMF in 2010), and will allow the engagement of other UN agencies in the initiative.